Tendencies of Inner Surveillance in Democratic India: Challenges of Establishing Native Ethnographer’s Identity Among Indian Muslims
Keywords:Native ethnography, surveillance, Muslims, India
The paper analyzes how the native ethnographer’s position within his/her community becomes problematized during fieldwork conditions defined by fear of state surveillance forces. It focuses on the way state’s vigilance activities create new barriers for establishing of native ethnographer’s authority by challenging the ethnographer’s privileged access to his/her research community based on trust and cultural/religious affiliations. The apprehensions for personal safety experienced by the informants unsettle the distinctions between native and non-native ethnography. The paper argues that if anthropology is to progress as a meaningful social and cultural critique then it must elaborate the ethnographer’s experiences of navigating the shifting grounds as insider and outsider. It proposes a “thick description” of the way reticence and distrust of the informants is overcome. The aim is to create scholarship that counters political and social injustices by making explicit voids and gaps and by gleaning a wealth of information in silences.
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